Written by Emily
Our resident elf, Popcorn, is back. I was wary of the tradition, but my children love this tiny imp and think nothing of the fact that she’s the ultimate snitch. I’ll admit it: for 11 months I longed to say things like, “Remember, Popcorn is taking notes” or “I will ask Popcorn to call Santa in T minus 10 seconds if the fighting doesn’t stop.” Desperate times call for desperate measures. I actually missed that precious little tattletale, Mommy’s Little Helper, I mean Popcorn.
Just a few weeks ago, I read about some parents who made their children’s dinosaurs spring to life at night and wreak havoc all over the house in the name of good old fashion fun–if good old fashion fun means writing all over the walls and cracking eggs on the floor like those wily dinos did.
I don’t begrudge those folks for their creative spirit and energy. In fact, I think it’s fabulous. I do, however, think there’s a missed opportunity here. The dinosaurs in Dinovember were just for fun. What? From what I can glean from the write-ups, there was no snitching. No threatening. No caveats at all. Boo. Help a girl out is all I’m saying.
So in the spirit of toy magic and in the hopes of good behavior all year, I’ve crafted a year-long calendar of toy mischief with just enough fear factor to terrify my children into submission.
January–Happy New Year!
The element of surprise is key this month so the kids don’t suffer from a post-holiday slump that would inevitably result in acting out the likes of which I’ve never seen. I think it’s fair to suggest their toys vote Survivor style on the next tattle tale. We need to keep the kids on their toes, right?
Today, Cinderella is watching. Tomorrow? We’ll see.
February–The Kiss of Death
This could take a dark turn, but I think the kids can handle it. Here’s the story: the toys are watching. If you misbehave, one toy bites the dust…the kiss of death. If you’re good, a nice chocolaty kiss is waiting.
If you think this is a bit much, consider this: our little ones will associate kissing with something horrible, which is ideal when their hormones course through their systems faster than a freight train. Added bonus: built-in toy purge. High five!
March–March of the Dolls
If you’re not a doll family, you can insert any toy here. The idea is just like our little Christmas elf. Every night, the dolls parade around the house, throw a house party, do whatever naughty things dolls might do. During the day, they spy on the children and slip the parents’ notes. If the little ones are bad? Good-bye, birthday.
April–Joke’s on You!
There’s nothing like a little tomfoolery to inspire the kids. How about we say the toys are responsible for dishes in the sink or laundry piles or fellow toys scattered all over the floor. If the kids don’t clean it up, Santa gets a phone call. Kids are never too young to take responsibility for household chores. This is a big win for the ‘rents.
May– Lego Maynia
This month is payback for all the times a hidden razor-sharp block has sent parents screaming obscenities under their breath. But that’s not the only way a tiny piece of plastic can cause so much torment:
Oh. I see. You’re refusing to eat dinner again? You know it’s Lego Maynia? Your Legos are listening.
Who knows what they might build when you’re sleeping.
A larger than life fire-breathing dragon on mom’s side? Winning.
June– Bug Out!
School is almost over, and the kids are getting stir crazy. Bring. on. the toys. I think in keeping with a seasonal theme, bugs are a natural fit here (see what I did there). One or two plastic bugs is fun. The threat of swarming insects is enough to make entomologists shudder.
Slipping on homework?
A bug is watching.
Not listening to the teacher? Now 10 bugs are watching.
Talking back like a tween on a Disney sitcom?
Don’t worry, sweetie. It’s not like they come to life at night. Oh. They do.
Do you have a preschooler who likes to craft white lies? What about a middle schooler? Well, during Ju(lie), the toys are taking notes on all the little fibs our cherubs spin.
One lie? No ice cream. Two lies? Homework in July.
Thank goodness the toys are on mom and dad’s side, am I right?
August–Summer’s End Screen Saver
The kids are desperate for screen time. The pool is so over. Fellow parents, it’s time we turn the screens on the children. It might sound like this: “Kids, are you watching that screen or is the screen watching you? I’ll never tell.”
Ok. I will tell. I will tell you that the screen is watching you because fear is the only thing strong enough to peel your eyeballs away from the artificial glow.
September–Back to School!
Maybe the kids need a break, and by that I mean the parents. School is back in session. Parents can finally unload their precious cargo onto someone else during the day. September is the honeymoon period. The kids are too tired from their new school schedule to do anything too horrible at home. It’s safe to take a breath and gear up for Halloween. If you disagree, you can always threaten that their new backpack, the one they were so excited to have, the one that they really wanted “please, mommy, please. Please!” is a whistleblower.
And now you’re back in the game.
October–Toy Terror Extravaganza
No one needs my help here. There’s Chuckie, It, Gremlins. The toy terror is there for the taking.
Thank you, Hollywood.
But let’s make the kids clean up the messes…or else.
December–The Elf is back!
And by now, the kids would rather read books and run around outside in the bitter cold than ask for another toy that might plot against them. Everyone wins!